The lecture/tutorial that Liam gave on ethics got me thinking. The three films that were mentioned, Cunnamulla, Titicut Follies and To Be and To Have all raise some form of ethical issues, whether it is for the justice of the filmmaker or the social actors that were involved in the documentary. For To Be and To Have, Guardian reports George Lopez, the teacher that’s the main subject of the doco claims that he should be properly remunerated for his intellectuality. However, there are no laws for ethics in film that governs the issue of intellectuality. The Paris court even claim that Lopez need not to be paid as he was just doing his everyday job as a school teacher. Furthermore, Lopez has already agreed to being filmed prior the filming process.
Liam also raised a question in class: “should interviewees be paid?” It may seem ethically wrong not to pay people who are involved for our film but also ethically wrong if we paid them as it then seem like they are acting and can be told by the filmmaker what and what not to do. Like what the Paris court ruled for Lopez, I don’t think social workers should be paid (particularly true for us filmmaking students) but can be remunerated in other forms such as food and beverages as well as making a proper credit to their work as a token of appreciation.
He also raised this question: “is the release form a sort of reassurance for the social actors/actors or is it something to save the filmmaker’s ass?”
Most of us think that the release form is something to save our ass as the end product of the film may or may not be in the liking of the social worker but he would not have the right to stop the film from being screened. A solution that Liam mentioned is to show your social worker your dedication in the work, show him or her how much you put in producing the end product of the film and the social worker would be happy to have the film screened regardless if she or he likes how they appear on film.
This topic on ethics has also led me on to think about an interview that we had with a prospective interviewee just two days ago in which Alene has pointed out that I have asked our interviewee, Jonathan, questions that might have been biased. She points out that it is important to maintain a neutral perspective as an interviewer. It had only occurred to me when she pointed it out. I guess I took the interview a little too casual and somewhat fail to practice a strong sense of neutralism as myself and the interviewee are of asian background. I will definitely keep this in mind when we go out to the interview. It just proved to me that interviews aren’t easy. You don’t only need to formulate appropriate question as the interviewee speaks, but also pay a really close attention to what he is saying.